Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Car Talk

You don't want your car to have this type of sticker on it!
 The van we purchased back in February has been working out just great.  When we bought it, we had until  June 2011 to renew the registration/JCI (Japanese Compulsory Insurance) which we thought was ideal.  Basically, we were able to shorten the Japanese car-buying process because the vehicle had months before it needed to be inspected and registration renewed.  We knew that the registration was due this month but failed to look at the exact date until we were pulled over at Main Gate the week before last.  Unfortunately, our registration expired 4 days earlier.

We were ordered to pull over at the vehicle inspection area and told that we would not be able to drive the vehicle on or off base. The car was impounded (we didn't have to pay, and it was not it a locked area) but we did have a nice yellow sticker placed on the front window and was only to be removed by base police.  This was a bit problematic at the time since I was supposed to drop Justin and the two younger kids off at school that day, volunteer, and go to lunch with a friend.  Needless to say, most of those plans went by the wayside.  I did end up calling a friend who lives on base to see if she could pick the kids and I up. 

I talked to a friend who told me the steps I needed to take to get this situation remedied.  Here they are/were:
1) Go to City Hall to get temporary plates (good for 5 days) so that we could drive the vehicle to get on-base inspection. 
2) After returning to base, I needed to talk to base police/security to have them remove sticker on the car so that I could drive it to base inspection.
3) I was able to get the car and drive it to get a base inspection.  The inspection was to take 2 hours and I was hoping it was going to pass inspection.
4) Vehicle DID NOT pass inspection.  Needs new front brakes and the parts do not come in until the following day.  Since we have temporary plates, we are able to drive around base and home which is good.
5) The next day I have to take car back in to get brakes done.  The parts don't come in until noon, but the car is ready for pick up by 3:00p.m.
6) A few days later, I have a friend who does LTO (Japanese DMV) runs for foreigners up to Yokohama.  I basically pay her fee, the toll fees, and all other fees for registering the vehicle.  Luckily, the registration is every 2 years.
7) After the LTO run, I gave the temporary plates back to my friend who will take them back to City Hall, go to VRO (vehicle registration office) to update our new registration and go to insurance company (all in the same building) to pay for another 2 years of JCI and to also add my oldest son as a driver onto our car. 

While this was a little inconvenient, it was no one's fault but our own.  I tried to laugh about it because it wouldn't help to get upset.  I'm just happy to be able to share all of the lessons we've learned/are learning with others.

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